Two Skills that Make You Fit for Life
Let’s skip over the long intro paragraph and just get right to it: the two skills that can make you fit for life are self-motivation and preparation.
By combining these important skills, you will create the strong healthy habits and daily rituals of an active lifestyle to make staying in shape easy.
Do you feel you are lacking in these areas? Thankfully, skills can be learned! Let’s dive into why these two skills are so important and how you can develop them to immediately improve not only your physical fitness, but your mental fitness too.
How to Improve Self-Motivation
Self-motivation is that internal drive to achieve, make, or do something. When the task becomes difficult, self-motivation is a skill that enables you to keep going, or even encourages you to start in the first place.
- To become a master at self-motivation, keep it simple and write down what your goals are. Setting realistic goals serves multiple purposes. It helps you make things very clear for yourself and maintain a point of focus. And by knowing where your finish line is, you can figure out the steps you need to take to reach it.
Let’s create an example and say that someone named Christina has been advised by her doctor to lose some belly fat. Her goal, or finish line, is to see and feel a difference in her midsection within six months.
- Make a list of why you have decided to take action. Christina makes a list of “whys” for her goal, which includes:
- the health benefits of being in a healthy bodyfat range
- fitting into her favourite jeans again and therefore feeling more confident
- improving her cardio abilities
Once you’ve made your list, post it up somewhere where you’ll see it often.
- Next, write down the possible downsides of not reaching your goal. Continuing this example, Christina writes down the following:
- risk of diabetes and other health-related issues
- lack of body confidence
- lack of energy in physical activity
Refer back to this list when you’re feeling unmotivated and are tempted to give up, reminding yourself of why you’re on this journey in the first place.
- Surround yourself with others who are great at self-motivation to learn their tricks and give yourself a mentor. You will also have much needed support for your fitness journey.
- Track your progress and keep things positive by having reasonable expectations. It’s important to challenge yourself while remembering that change isn’t easy. Personal growth should be fun, not overwhelming or exhausting. Whether your goal is fitness related or focuses on another aspect of self development, always remember to acknowledge the small victories—they’ll help keep you motivated toward that big goal.
How to Become Better at Preparation
Preparation is defined as something done to get ready for an event or undertaking—and most people who have achieved any amount of success would agree that to be successful demands good preparation.
Let’s break this down into three easy steps to help get better at being prepared.
- Look at your big goal and work backwards to think through the process required to get there. If Christina’s end goal is to lose belly fat, she could start by asking herself how she would like to do this and then taking the necessary steps to implement those methods.
If she’s decided that she really doesn’t know how to safely, healthily, and happily get to her end goal, she may opt to hire a personal trainer who can help her do so. Her working backwards list might look something like this:
- End goal: see and feel a difference in belly fat
- Weight / measurement / clothing check ins
- Learn how to exercise to help reach her goals
- Work with a personal trainer
- Hire a personal trainer
- Contact a personal trainer
- Research personal trainers in her area
Christina now knows that her first step will be doing some research and finding herself a fitness and nutrition expert in her area that she can contact and work with. This is a great start and would help her bridge the gap in her knowledge for the results she’s hoping for.
- Break down each step and prioritize tasks. Plan ahead to make tasks like grocery shopping, meal prepping, and making time for workouts seem more manageable. By being organized and feeling like you have a bit of a plan, you will avoid feeling stressed and be able to stay on track—even if other priorities come up.
Christina will likely receive a lot of helpful information and tips from her trainer, and she can help keep herself on track by breaking down big to-dos (like eating healthy and exercising) into smaller, organized tasks.
- Plan for the worst-case scenario. You know yourself better than anyone, so you likely know where your challenges will be. If you’re someone who generally comes home from work and opts for fast food because you don’t feel like cooking, be ready for that by having some options ready to go ahead of time.
Christina knows that she tends to be a stress-eater, so she commits to being more mindful of when she’s feeling stressed and will instead try going for a walk or calling up a friend when it happens.
Think through where your temptations will be, what your possible obstacles are, and how you can help your future self to feel less overwhelmed.
Skills take time to develop, so don’t get frustrated when you find yourself sleeping in and missing an early morning cardio session or forgetting to thaw chicken so you can’t food prep when you wanted to.
Every little mistake you make is an opportunity to learn and improve! Soon things you struggled with will become second nature. One day soon, you’ll be teaching others how to reign in their self-sabotaging habits to lead healthier lives too!
Coach Julie Germaine is an NFLA-certified fitness expert and prenatal trainer, and an NASM-certified nutrition specialist. She is also a fit mom to an active toddler and a 2x world-class fitness champion who has been featured in and contributed to numerous fitness, fashion, and lifestyle magazines and other media. She has loved helping men and women lose belly fat and maintain their incredible body transformations as a virtual coach since 2005.